Are you protecting your personal and financial information? Each year, scam artists and identity thieves steal billions of dollars from unsuspecting consumers. Fraud prevention is becoming daily activity like buckling your seat belt. Here are a few statistics from a recent Federal Trade Commission report.
The FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network received more than 4.7 million fraud reports in 2020.
The top three reports – Identity Theft, Imposter Scams, and Online Shopping.
Consumers reported losing more than $3.3 billion to fraud in 2020.
Scammers use the phone, email, text messaging, snail-mail, and the internet to steal your information or trick you into handing over your money and private information. It’s important to us to help our members learn how to recognize common scams, take action if you think you are a victim of fraud, and learn what you can do to protect your finances from fraud.
Here are a few simple tips to be a smart consumer and avoid becoming a victim of fraud.
- Lock your devices just like you lock your front door. Use a passcode or fingerprint to lock your phone or tablet. If you have a computer, use a strong password that’s at least 12 characters. Here’s one option for a free password generator you can use to create a strong password.
- Look for the red flags. If someone contacts you and asks you to pay by wire transfer or gift card, don’t do it. Be suspicious of a phone call from a person or group claiming you’ve won a lottery or any monetary prize. Never agree to pay “taxes” upfront for your prize. If it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably a scam.
- Share with care. Limit how much personal information you share online. Set your social media profiles to private. If someone asks to connect with you on social media, only accept if you know them.
- Don’t take the bait. If someone sends you an unsolicited email, text, or calls you, do not provide your personal information, regardless of how “urgent” the situation sounds. Look up a legitimate phone number and call the company directly to verify.
- Avoid clicking links. If you receive an email from someone you don’t know, do not click the links in the email. These links can lead you to a fake website that has been created to steal your personal information.
- Update your anti-virus software. Make sure to download the most recent and reputable anti-virus and anti-spyware software to your computer and keep your mobile device software up to date.
- Report immediately. If you feel your account, cards or credit history has been compromised, report this immediately to the appropriate company. Also file a report with the Federal Trade Commission at:
- Legitimate calls, emails, or texts from Members Trust will never contain a request for your account information.
- We will never call you or email and ask for your personal, account, password, or PIN information.
- No one from Members Trust will ask for your debit or credit card number via a phone call, email, or text message. If our credit card fraud department calls to confirm account activity, they will only discuss suspicious transactions with you. They will never ask for a PIN or other non-public information. If you feel uncomfortable giving this information to someone who calls, terminate the call, and call us back at the number on the back of your card or by contacting us directly.